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Widow Called Out For Not Informing Her Late Husband’s Estranged Mother That He Passed Away

Older woman crying
Marjan_Apostolovic/Getty Images

It’s always sad when someone cuts off contact with a family member.

However, sometimes doing so is the right decision, as there will sadly be nothing gained from remaining in contact with this individual.

As a result, when they are excluded from important family occasions, there is little to no love lost on either side.

The husband of Redditor second_ave_slav had a tense relationship with his mother, so much so that she showed little to no concern upon learning that her son was gravely ill.

When the worst sadly ended up happening, the original poster (OP) did not think alerting her mother-in-law was a priority.

Until her mother-in-law openly expressed her outrage after the fact.

Having doubts about how she handled things, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not telling my mother in law her son had passed?”

The OP explained how the death of her husband made her already fraught relationship with her mother-in-law even worse.

“I sound completely awful here, and I think I might be.”

“Now that pretty much everyone in my family thinks I’m horrendous, I wanted an outside opinion.”

“My husband passed away recently after a very sudden and difficult struggle with cirrhosis.”

“It was easily the worst thing to happen in my life.”

“The damage was invisible for years, we never saw it coming.”

“He got so sick, so fast.”

“After they diagnosed him, he lived a little over a year.”

“We called all our family, including his mother, who otherwise we don’t have much contact with.”

“I’ve always hated that woman.”

“She has always been cruel to him, put him down every chance she could.”

“When we called saying her son was terminally ill, she first denied it, insisted we were lying.”

“Then she went on about how we should’ve seen this coming, that this is just what happens when you’re a drunk.”

“Of course this shut down the call pretty fast.”

“She only called once after that, and we didn’t pick up.”

“A little over a year later, I had to bring him to the hospital and in two days, he was gone.”

“At that point, he was already just so confused and hardly conscious.”

“I told my parents and his brothers, and we were the last people to see him.”

“I wasn’t doing very well at the time either, everything just happened so fast.”

“I wasn’t ready to make any of those decisions, and between the doctors and the bills and just seeing him so sick, I didn’t even think about his mother.”

“In the days after, I just didn’t want to deal with her.”

“I know that’s horrible, but I was just so tired.”

“She called me a few weeks later, I’m not sure how she heard.”

“She was hysterical, which I know is understandable.”

“She said I robbed her of saying goodbye to her son, and robbed him of a proper service.”

“I should have just hung up, but I was so hurt and so angry.”

“I informed her a very nice service was held, which every important person in his life was there.”

“I said she must be mistaken and blocked her number.”

“She’s gone ballistic.”

“Called my brother in laws in tears about how I’ve ruined her life, gone on Facebook about how devastated she is and publicly begging me to talk to her, how she just wants his things and to know what happened.”

“Even my parents said it wasn’t my place to make that choice for my husband, and I should try to talk with her.”

“I know I probably should.”

“I know he was hers before he was mine.”

“But she made him miserable, and if he had been able to choose, I know he wouldn’t have wanted her there.”

“I don’t think she deserved to see him, and I don’t think she deserves to have any of the things that were his.”

“But now that I write it all out, it really sounds horrible.”

“Maybe I’m out of line to make that call.”

“The only people who haven’t said I was being cruel are my husband’s two brothers, who know how she can be.”

“But other than them, she was the only family he had.”

“Maybe it isn’t my right to interfere with that.”

“Maybe beyond a**hole.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for not alerting her mother-in-law of her husband’s death.

Everyone thought that the OP was under no obligation to alert her MIL of her husband’s death after the way she had treated them, with others pointing out how either of the OP’s late husband’s brothers could have alerted her about his death and service.


“The fact that her other sons also didn’t call her to have her involved goes to show you made the right choice.”- EastPractice2616

‘You said she has two other sons. Didn’t they inform her about your husband?”

“Wtf?”- Wingardiumis

“Why didn’t his brothers tell their mom about the service?”

“NTA.”- whynot246810


“Blood relationship does not entitle anyone to be in someone’s life.”

“She didn’t earn a place in her son’s life.”

“That’s on her.”

“You and your husband gave her a chance to be there for him at the end, and she made her choice.”

“She sounds like a narcissist who is more concerned with garnering public sympathy and playing the victim than actually caring about her own son’s passing.”

“Continue to block her from everything, including your own thoughts.”

“I am sorry for your loss.”- SpookyTeaTime


“She didn’t care enough to fight to see him while he was dying.”

“His brothers didn’t bother to tell her when the end came.”

“They didn’t tell her about the service.”

“Don’t discount the fact her other sons felt it was a good idea to leave her out of the loop.”

“I’m sorry for your loss OP.”

“IF you decide to reach out, make it clear to her before the talk happens. You will not tolerate her bullsh*t.”

“She starts yelling?”

“The conversation ends immediately, and you will block her again.”

“If either of your BILs are willing to sit in on the talk, even better.”

“If she won’t agree to behave, then back to no contact.”

“But no, you aren’t TA.”- Fun-Replacement1998

“Here is how it goes in ‘normal” families.'”

“Man dies, widow informs the other brothers and forgets to inform MIL.”

“All brothers mourn and make calls to each other and mum and all commiserate together.”

“All the family is shocked and messages and calls to mum, cousins, and friends fly back and forth.”

“Why TF hasn’t it happened here?”

“How is the mourning widow the ONLY a person to tell MIL?”

“Are all the brothers and their own families mute?”

“Don’t own phones?”

“Never message anyone?”

“They are Amish, so no technology?”

“These days, someone bumps their head, and news is all over the family wherever in the world they are.”

“Something stinks, and it’s definitely not OP.”

“NTA.”- fuggystudent18

“Mother of year, said no one ever.”

“She gave you no reason to believe she would do anything other than hasten your husband’s death had she been told his passing was imminent.”

“Neither you nor your husband owed her anything.”

“Block her and focus on healing.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss.”

“NTA.”- type1error


“Her own living sons agree with you.”

“Your husband didn’t want her.”

“That’s all that needs to be said.”- Hob-Nob1974


“Her own sons did not reach out to her. You were distraught. They should have been the ones to let her know.”

“She also has no claim to his stuff. His possessions belong to the marriage.”

“IF you choose to speak to her, have a mediator like one of her sons.”- Leahthevagabond


“And his brothers did not tell their mother because … why?”- pusheenKittyPillow

“She made him miserable, she called him names, and your husband wouldn’t have wanted her there if he had been able to choose.”

“Read that back to yourself and know that you’re NTA.”

“Some people have been lucky enough to have different parents and will literally not understand your reasoning, but you didn’t need to tell her, and your BILs didn’t have to tell her.”

“Her knowing would have brought her around to make you miserable at the worst time in your life.”

“Your husband chose to live the end of his life without contacting her, and you are completely in the right to continue that after his death.”- KintsugiMind

The fact that the two brothers of the OP’s late husband didn’t feel compelled to tell their own mother of his death or his service is pretty telling.

Though it is, indeed, tragic that the OP’s mother-in-law will now have to live the rest of her life knowing that she never reconciled with her son.

Not to mention looking back on all the poor decisions she made in their relationship over the years with painful regret.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.